Book-seller by day at Athens’ Avid Bookshop and published author by night, former English major Will Walton (AB ’13) released his debut novel, Anything Could Happen, earlier this week. The book is being published by PUSH, an imprint of Scholastic. Jamie Lewis (AB ’12, AB ’12), assistant director of communications, recently sat down with Will to discuss the path to becoming a writer and his experiences at UGA.
Tell me a little bit about yourself. Did you always want to attend UGA? When did you decide to be a writer?
Both of my parents are Georgia Tech grads and initially, I always thought I’d follow in their footsteps. Lucky for me, I decided I wanted to be a writer in the eighth grade and chose to attend UGA.
What was your book writing process? Did any experiences at UGA (inside or outside the classroom) help prepare you for the experience?
I wrote a lot in the Jittery Joe’s downtown on my breaks between classes. I also took workshops with poet Sabrina Orah Mark (PHD ’08) and author and UGA professor Reginald McKnight. Reg and Sabrina helped me tremendously. I could not have made the book what it is without their early advice and encouragements. For that reason, they are the first two people to be named in my acknowledgments.
What were some of your most memorable experiences at UGA? Did you have a favorite class or professor?
I’ll never forget how excited I was to get into UGA’s Stillpoint Literary Magazine my freshman year, for a poem I wrote called “Bird’s Grandmother Discovers a Dead Calf.” (Ha!) I wrote it while sitting in the first floor laundry room of Creswell. As far as professors go, Reg McKnight is my hero. I loved basically every English class I took. Richard Menke, Chris Pizzino, and Douglas Anderson are amazing instructors.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to write a book?
I think the best advice is simply, “just write it.” I know that sounds a little annoying, but it’s sort of how you trick yourself. First you tell yourself, “just write it,” then, heroically, you do. Most likely, the result is terrible. But you just keep tricking yourself by saying, “just write it,” draft after draft, and eventually the result is okay!
Will and Jamie at his book launch party at Avid Bookshop
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Libba Bray, Anne Carson, Amber Dermont, Miranda July, David Levithan, Sabrina Orah Mark, Reginald McKnight, Annie Proulx, Jane Smiley, Andrew Smith, and Laurel Snyder.
Many grads only return to Athens once every few years. Where are 3 places you think someone should check out when they return to Athens?
AVID BOOKSHOP (in all caps because it is my favorite place), Senor Sol on Oglethorpe Avenue for Micheladas and empanadas and Vision Video for the five-for-$5 movie rental deal.
The UGA Alumni Associations wishes Will the best of luck in all his future endeavors!